Just like the Pistol formation fad in the NFL at the moment there is also a fad on the defensive side of the ball with the 4-3 under. The 4-3 under looks like your ordinary 4-3 formation with a defensive end in a 2-point stance and while it is in look, the responsibilities of the defensive line are more that of a 3-4/4-3 mix.
With the strong side DE playing “5 tech” role and NG “1 tech” playing a two gap role, with the DT “3 tech” and “LEO” playing one on one, as displayed in the picture below.
‘LEO”s play more like a rushing OLB from a 3-4 and usually faster and smaller then a 4-3 DE. A ‘LEO”s main purpose is getting pressure on the QB with a mixture of power and speed like Chris Clemons in Seattle.
In this article I look at players that could fill this role in the NFL.
OLB Anthony Barr 6’4 250 lb UCLA
Athletic freak, Barr has only played on the defensive side of the ball for two years. Shows great instincts rushing the QB, runs the arc nicely and guards the flats well. Still raw but Barr has tons of potential.
OLB Khalil Mack 6’4 245 lb Buffalo
While hailing from a small school, Khalil Mack is no small talent. Converts power to speed easily, has a great bull rush and swim move also active in the run game.
DE Chris Smith 6’2 265 lb Arkansas
Great get off with an amazing first step with solid snap anticipation. Quick and agile with a nasty spin move in his repertoire . Could be a sleeper 1st rd pick. Current sack leader in CFB.
DE Vic Beasley 6’2 235 lb Clemson
Lighting quick athlete in the same vein as Bruce Irvin. Runs the arc nicely putting offensive tackles on their heels. Like Bruce Irvin tho very suspect against the run and can be blown off the ball.
OLB Kyle Van Noy 6’3 245 lb BYU
Play making OLB/DE for the cougars. Not overly athletic or long but makes up for it with great pass rushing instincts and natural play making ability. Strength will need to improve for next level.
OLB Jeremiah Attaoachu 6’3 240 lb Georgia Tech
Moved from OLB to DE this year. Above average athlete. Runs the arc well, uses the arm bar to ward of the blocker and gets to the QB. hand use-age still needs work.
Prince Shembo 6’4 255 lb Notre Dame
Powerful with average athleticism still raw as a pass rusher came to Notre Dame as a inside linebacker. Hits his gaps well and knows his assignments in setting the edge or guarding flats. Needs to work on getting off of blocks.
OLB Carl Bradford 6’1 240 lb Arizona State
A Defensive weapon for Arizona State, Bradford lines up everywhere. High motor and good awareness. Like a lot of these guys needs to refine pass rushing technique
DE Demarcus Lawrence 6’3 245 lb Boise State
Boise State has started putting in some solid prospects into the NFL and Lawrence is going to add to that list. Solid against the run and skilled pass rusher. Lawrence will need some more moves for the NFL.
DE Morgan Breslin 6’1 250 lb USC
Has good get off and a high motor. Hand use-age is poor and racked up a lot of sacks from pure effort moves to OLB this year and hopefully see improvement in his hands.